Back in Florida
Arkansas Derby winner Magnum Moon left Oaklawn Park for his home base at Palm Beach Downs on Sunday afternoon and was reported by his owner to be doing well.
“He ate every oat last night and showed good energy this morning,” Robert Low said in a text Sunday afternoon. “He flew out early.”
Magnum Moon, unraced as a 2-year-old, will try to become the fourth winner of the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby to capture the Kentucky Derby, following Sunny’s Halo (1983), Smarty Jones (2004) and American Pharoah (2015).
“It’s very difficult to do what he’s done since Jan. 13, break his maiden, to now be four-for-four and win the Rebel and Arkansas Derby and be a grade I winner in his fourth start,” trainer Todd Pletcher said Saturday night. “It’s a real tribute to the horse’s talent.”
Pletcher said the tentative plan for Magnum Moon and his three other Kentucky Derby contenders is to fly to arrive at Churchill Downs on April 23 and breeze once at the track around eight days before the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher also trains Florida Derby winner Audible, Louisiana Derby winner Noble Indy and Wood Memorial winner Vino Rosso.
“It would be hard to imagine that we could have a much better last month, but we’re just very fortunate and thankful and hope they can continue to train well and stay healthy through the Derby,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher also won the Arkansas Derby in 2000 (Graeme Hall), 2001 (Balto Star), 2013 (Overanalyze) and 2014 (Danza) and was second in 2010 with Super Saver, who would capture the Kentucky Derby three weeks later.
With 90 points, second finisher Quip ranks 10th in the Kentucky Derby points standings. However, his status for the Kentucky Derby is fluid, according to Elliott Walden, president, CEO and racing manager for WinStar Farm.
“I don’t know,” Walden said. “He was second best today. He ran hard. Good effort and we’ll see what happens.”
WinStar also owns pieces of Audible, Noble Indy and unbeaten Justify.
Edited Oaklawn Park release